Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Commonwealth report commends Rwanda’s decentralisation policy


Local Government Minister Musoni addressing press about the Aberdeen Report yesterday.
Rwanda’s decentralisation policies have given local leaders powers to perform complex duties at their levels of administration, the latest Commonwealth Secretariat sponsored report says.

The study was done to ascertain if the ‘Aberdeen Principle’, a strategy that guides Commonwealth member states on core values for promoting local democracy and good governance have been implemented. It was conducted by Rwandese Association of Local Government Authorities (RALGA) and the Ministry of Local Government.

“Today, local governments in Rwanda are capable of handling complex tasks, which were previously unheard of in local governments set up,” the report reads in part. “This is a result of capacity building initiatives since the start of decentralisation.”

The 12 Aberdeen Principles were endorsed in March 2005 at the Commonwealth Local Government Conference that was held in Aberdeen, Scotland, under the theme, “Deepening Local Democracy”.

The Aberdeen Agenda was formally approved by Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) member organisations on March 18, 2005 following the adoption by all members of Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF).

It provides a set of standards to promote healthy local democracy and good governance in all Commonwealth member states including Rwanda.

Addressing a news conference yesterday about the report that was released last week in Kampala, Uganda, during the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, James Musoni the Minister for Local Government, said the study corresponds with what is on the ground.

“We are pleased by the report and this shows how Rwanda successfully managed to establish an efficient and effective decentralisation model that enables citizens to access government services at the grassroots level,” said the minister.

The decentralisation implementation programme, which is being implemented in three phases, began in 2000 and was first put into action in 2001.

Musoni stated that the Commonwealth report was presented to President Paul Kagame during the Local Government’s meeting in Kampala.

The study was conducted last year under the theme “local democracy and local governance; benchmarking against the Aberdeen Principles.”

Best practices 

The Aberdeen Principles include among others, Constitutional and legal recognition for local democracy, political freedom to elect local representatives, partnership and cooperation between spheres of government.

According to the report, initiatives like performance contracts (Imihigo) and National Dialogue (Umushyikirano) and other home grown solutions were considered to be the best practices needed in good governance system.

Rwanda’s first phase of decentralisation that ran from 2001 to 2005 saw the promulgation of enabling laws, establishment of service delivery structures, and the first ever democratically elected local government leadership.

The second, from 2006 to 2010, was a turning point in the decentralisation agenda where institutional and organisational restructuring of local governments was carried out to streamline better service delivery.

The third phase which runs from 2011-2015 is expected to improve and sustain the achievements made in the first two phases.


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